Geology Course Descriptions

Geology Program Information Links

Requirements for the Major in Geology

Requirements for the Minor in Geology

Geology Links

 

GEOL 110 - Introduction to Physical Geology

4 credit hours

An examination of the composition and structure of the earth and its internal and surface processes with applications to the environment, natural resources, and geologic hazards. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. GEOL 110 is a prerequisite to GEOL 120. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 110 and GEOL 111.

 

GEOL 120 - Environmental Geology

4 credit hours

The application of the principles of physical geology to environmental problems, including pollution, natural hazards, and resource production. Topics include: volcanic, earthquake, flood, and landslide hazards; surface and ground water pollution, economic resources, and reserves including transportation, production, and use; and broader issues such as global warming. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOL 110.

 

GEOL 110H/120H - Honors Introduction to Physical Geology / Honors Environ. Geology

4 credit hours each

See the above descriptions of GEOL 110 and GEOL 120. These courses are open to students who are participants in the Honors Program. Other students who have demonstrated superior academic ability may be eligible to register for these courses as well and must receive consent of the instructor prior to enrollment. GEOL 110H cannot be taken in addition to GEOL 110; GEOL 120H cannot be taken in addition to GEOL 120. Prerequisite for GEOL 120H: GEOL 110 or GEOL 110H.

 

GEOL 121 - Engineering Geology

3 credit hours

The elements of physical and historical geology as they relate to engineering practice. Not to be taken by geology majors or minors. Two hours of lecture and two hours of lab.

 

GEOL 210 - Methods in Geoscience

2 credit hours

Survey of the field and laboratory methods and associated technology commonly used by geologists and geographers. Topics include: nature of spatial data, map interpretation, basic GPS and GIS, remote sensing, microscope analyses, research design, field study design and implementation, conducting literature searches, scientific and technical writing, preparation of oral presentations, and geostatistics. Prerequisite: GEOL 110-120 or GEOG 151-152 or GEOG 201-202. (Same as GEOG 210).

 

GEOL 315 / GEOL 515 - Principles of Oceanography

3 credit hours

An introduction to the physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes occurring in the world's oceans, including natural resources for legal-political problems associated with the marine environment. Course is designed for science and science education majors. Prerequisite: One-year sequence in a science (for example: BIOL 110-120 or GEOL 110-120) or permission of instructor for graduate credit. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 315 and GEOL 310.

 

GEOL 320 / GEOL 520 - Mineralogy

4 credit hours

A study of the crystallography, classification, identification, and the systematics of mineral families. Laboratory includes hand specimen and analytical methods of identification. Three hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Prerequisites: GEOL 110, CHEM 121, and MATH 140 or equivalent. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 320 (520) and GEOL 318 (518).

 

GEOL 325 / GEOL 525 - Fossils: Life Through Time

3 credit hours

Hands-on approach using fossils to explore the 4.6 billion year history of life on Earth. Topics include: Origin of life; rise of multicellularity and Eukaryotes; advent of shell, bone, and teeth (except in Arkansas); Vendian-Cambrian explosion of life; marine invertebrate ecosystems through time; origin and evolution of primary plant groups; origin and evolution of the major vertebrate groups (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, humans); colonization of land by plants and animals; evolution of flight in insects and vertebrates; mass extinction events and the demise of Earth's biodiversity. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or BIOL 120 or permission of instructor. GEOL 350 is recommended.

 

GEOL 330 / GEOL 530 - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

4 credit hours

A study of the genesis, classification, and identification and tectonic setting of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Laboratory includes hand specimen and optical methods of identification. Three hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Prerequisite: GEOL 320 or instructor's approval. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 330 (530) and GEOL 331 (531).

 

GEOL 340 / GEOL 540 - History of the Earth

4 credit hours

Physical and biological evolution of Earth -- past, present, and future, with emphasis on scientific methods used to study the geologic record. Topics include: Geologic time, rocks and fossils as historical archives, reconstructing ancient environments, global seal level and atmosphere change, plate tectonics and mountain building, mechanisms and evidences of organic evolution, and a survey or Earth's past and present biodiversity. Three hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Prerequisite: GEOL 110.

 

GEOL 345 / GEOL 545 - Natural Hazards

3 credit hours

An advanced examination of volcanic hazards, earthquakes, flooding, mass movement, subsidence, extraterrestrial impacting and the geological implications of extreme weather events. Societal implications and remediation of these hazards is emphasized. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 and 120.,/

 

GEOL 350 / GEOL 550 - Principles of Paleontology

4 credit hours

Field and laboratory techniques used to obtain information from fossil-bearing rocks and sediment. Major topics of emphasis include: Paleoecology, functional morphology, evolutionary theory, extinction processes, and paleobiogeography. Laboratory exercises will stress the use of common fossil taxa and paleontological tools to address issues in earth history. Three hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or instructor's approval. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 350 (550) and GEOL 351 (551).

 

GEOL 355 / GEOL 555 - Principles of Geomorphology

3 credit hours

A study of the process mechanics operating within the earth's surgical systems and the resultant landforms derived from these processes; information obtained is used to analyze how landform history manifests past climatic or tectonic phenomena. Prerequisites: GEOL 110 and either GEOL 120 or instructor's approval. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 355 (555) and GEOL 451 (651).

 

GEOL 360 / GEOL 560 - Sedimentology

3 credit hours

A study of the principles of sedimentology, sedimentary petrology, depositional processes, and environments. Two hours of lecture and two hours of lab per week. Prerequisites: GEOL 110 and GEOL 120. Recommended: GEOL 320. Students cannot receive credit for both GEOL 360 (560) and GEOL 411 (611).

 

GEOL 365 / GEOL 565 Tennessee's Geologic and Cultural Landscapes

3 credit hours

Lectures and field excursions emphasizing the interactions of geology and culture in Tennessee. Geologic topics include: Physiographic regions and geologic history, landforms, structural and tectonic history, natural and economic resources, and environmental issues across the state. Cultural topics include: Settlement history, economic development, political patterns, and distributions of populations. Attention is given to current state issues. Prerequisites: GEOL 110-120 or GEOG 201-202. (Same as GEOG 365/565)

 

GEOL 370 / GEOL 570 - Principles of Stratigraphy

2 credit hours

Methods of correlating rock strata according to North American Stratigraphic Code including lithostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, and biostratigraphy. Two hours of lecture per week. Prerequisite: GEOL 360.

 

GEOL 375 / GEOL 575 - Earth Systems Science

3 credit hours

Investigations in Earth Systems Science using inquiry-based exploration of Earth's processes and environments including the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and astrosphere. The course will focus on Problem-Based and Student-Centered learning techniques, so it will be especially applicable to anyone intending to or currently engaged in teaching science courses. The courses is taught completely online, with the participating doing a combination of individual and group coursework via an asynchronous discussion board. An optional field trip for hands-on learning will be made available. Prerequisites for graduate credit: Bachelor's degree or Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Prerequisites for undergraduate credit: Minimum of eight (8) hours of undergraduate laboratory-based science and permission of the instructor. (Same as GEOG 375/575).

 

GEOL 400 / GEOL 600 - Structural Geology

4 credit hours

Description and interpretation of deformation processes and common geologic structures such as folds, faults, joints, and cleavage. Lab topics include: Map interpretation, depth and thickness problems, construction of structure sections, structure contour maps, stereonets. Three hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Prerequisites: GEOL 330, GEOL 370.

 

GEOL 445 / GEOL 645 - Geohydrology

3 credit hours

A study of the water cycle, especially those parts dealing with streams, ground water, and water quality. Two hours of lecture and two hours of lab. Prerequisites: MATH 140, GEOL 110, and CHEM 121.

 

GEOL 450 - Methods in Field Geology

3 credit hours

Students will participate in field projects during their senior year. Methods include measurement, description and interpretation of rock sections; use of instruments in the collection and the analysis of data; construction and interpretation of geologic maps and cross-sections; writing technical reports, and the delivery of oral reports. The course is designated as the Writing and Speaking Across the Curriculum course in geology. Prerequisite/Corequisite: Senior standing and instructor's approval.

 

GEOL 475 / GEOL 657 - Travel Studies in Geology: (Title)

1 to 4 credit hours

Students study the geology and geologic history of a given locale through extended travel to the designated region of study. Travel sites vary each year and may be either domestic or foreign. Pre- and post-course meetings with lectures, discussion groups, and independent topic research are used in conjunction with field study activities. Students are responsible for their own travel expenses, fees, personal health and life insurance, and any other expenses when the semester topic requires it. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. No more than four hours of credit may be counted toward requirements for major or minor.

 

GEOL 485 / GEOL 685 - Special Topics in Geology: (Title)

1 to 4 credit hours

Intensive lectures and/or laboratory work on special topics in geology. Topics include, but are not limited to: Geology of State and National Parks, Geophysics, Clastic Petrology, Carbonate Petrology, Geochemistry, Paleocology, Biostratigraphy and Paleobiogeography, Economic Geology, Geoscience Education, Comparative Plantology, History of Geology. Prerequisite: instructor's approval. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. No more than four hours of credit may be counted toward requirements for major or minor.

 

GEOL 495 - Senior Research Project

1 to 3 credit hours

Seniors, by invitation of the geology faculty, propose and pursue research under the supervision of a faculty member. Students will submit a paper for review by a faculty committee or two or more members of the geology faculty and perhaps faculty members from other disciplines involved in the research. Grading on a pass or fail basis.

 

See the UT Martin Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog for official descriptions.

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